Yesterday would have been my grandmother Helen's 86th birthday.
She left us nearly 10 years ago.
Christmas was her favorite.
So were grandkids.
She never got to know any great-grandchildren, though she has two named in her honor.
Here is what, after ten years, I still remember so very vividly about her.
*She gave the world's greatest back tickles. The kind that would put you to sleep in an instant and solve even the world's toughest problem and burdensome stresses.
*She smelled like Avon.
*She had a gold acorn necklace that she wore often.
*She loved cardinals. She had a white sweater with cardinals appliqued on it that was sooooo ugly. I never saw it as a fashion faux-pas. It was gramma's bird shirt. And she loved it.
*She had a great lap. Perfect for sitting. Rocking. Cuddling.
*She kept candy bars in the fruit drawer of the fridge and a pack of trident gum in the cupboard near the chips.
*She always had the good (read: full of sugar) cereal, and her cookie jar always had cookies in it.
*We had ice cream with tiny marshmallows and chocolate syrup before bed every night.
*We ate sandwhiches with big slices of tomato, cottage cheese, and a pickle every day for lunch while she watched her "stories."
*When she would get mad she'd yell out every single grandkids name and sometimes even the cat's name before she'd get to yours. By that time we'd all be laughing, and then she would laugh, too.
*She listened to the Twins on the radio.
*She gave each grandkid a gift bag with some stocking stuffers, a toothbrush, and an orange for Christmas. Every year. Without fail. No matter what.
*She loved wholly. And it was encompassing. Warm. Remarkable. Just like her.
And most of all: After ten years I still miss her like crazy...really, really often.
I smile frequently because of her.
Especially when Elena looks at her picture and tells me that it's "Gramma Helen." Even before I had told her who Gramma Helen was.
I cried when she saw a Cardinal and said "Hi Gramma."
I hope this baby girl comes in December so I have a reason to wear her Blue Topaz more often.
I hope she welcomes DRL's Grandma Pelton into heaven alongside her. And makes her comfortable there. Shows her the ropes.
And I hope she continues to visit my little girl(s).
I pray that she keeps watch over them.
As only she can.
I love you Gramma.